Rugby League

Stefan Marsh scored a hat-trick as Widnes ran riot.

Widnes rout Hull to strengthen lead of Super League

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Surprise leaders Widnes consolidated top spot in the First Utility Super League with a nine-try rout of shell-shocked Hull at the Select Security Stadium.

Left winger Stefan Marsh scored a hat-trick and Australian right winger Corey Thompson grabbed two tries to take his tally to 10 in just six appearances in England in a 46-6 victory that condemned the Black and Whites to a third successive defeat.

The architect of the Vikings' fifth win out of six matches was skipper Kevin Brown, who is enjoying the form of his career to further press his claims for an England recall.

Yet there was little hint of the one-way traffic to come when the visitors made a lively start and second-rower Frank Pritchard took Danny Houghton's pass from dummy half to crash over for his first try in Super League on his first start for the club.

Marc Sneyd's goal made it 6-0 and Hull could have been three tries ahead but for the video referee disallowing scores by winger Fetuli Talanoa and second-rower Sika Manu, and it was against the run of play when the Vikings drew level on 14 minutes.

A perfectly-timed pass from Rhys Hanbury released centre Chris Dean, who was switched from the pack following the early loss of an injured Chris Bridge, and half-back Joe Mellor was on his inside to finish off the well-worked move, with Hanbury kicking the first of his five goals.

Hull were quickly back on the attack and threatening once more when Brown calmly intercepted Jordan Abdull's pass to turn defence into attack, and from the next play lofted the ball to the corner for Thompson to score his first try and give his side a lead they never looked like relinquishing.

Manu had a second try disallowed, this time for a knock-on, and Widnes, playing with plenty of confidence, took full advantage to establish a stranglehold with three further tries in the last 13 minutes of the first half.

Thompson plucked the ball out of the air in spectacular fashion to touch down Mellor's kick, centre Charly Runciman palmed the ball back from Brown's kick for Marsh to score his first try and more good work from Brown and second-rower Chris Houston got full-back Hanbury through a creaking Hull defence.

Hanbury kicked a second conversion as the home side left to a standing ovation at the break and the fans had plenty more to cheer as the Vikings turned the screw in the second half.

Brimming with confidence, Brown dummied his way over for his first try of the season to extend the lead to 30-6 before his long pass enabled Marsh to squeeze over for his second of the match.

Impressive young forward Matt Whitley was also a deserved scorer after scything through the heart of the visitors' defence and there was still time for Marsh to complete his hat-trick after more impressive work from that man Brown.

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